A recent study shows that drinking tea can produce anti-ageing benefits.
Updated: Jul 19, 2019
In 2017 scientists made an interesting discovery during a study that looked at healthy aging and longevity. A gut microbiome species that is normally only prevalent in the young and diminishes in numbers as we get older, called Akkamansia, were found to be abundant in people living in the blue zones of the world.
The study found that people living in these blue zones, (The Italian island of Sardinia, Okinawa, Japan, Loma Linda, California and Costa Rica's isolated Nicoya Peninsula) were living healthy active lives well into their 100th year and their numbers and types of microbiome species, in particular, Akkamansia have been attributed to this phenomena.
With our ongoing research and knowledge into gut microbiome we know that it is normal to have this gut microbiome bacterial species and in particular it is found in abundance in our youth but as we get older it is has been found to decline especially for people living in Western countries. The main reason for this is our gut microbiome's response to our western lifestyle and is directly related to our food chain, what we eat, how it is prepared, grown and the amount that we eat. Other culprits such as some of the over the counter and prescribed medications such as antibiotics, as well as recreational drugs have been shown to reduce their numbers.
Akkermansia muciniphila ( A.muciniphila), is a mucin-degrading bacterium of the phylum Verrucomicrobia and what this means is that these gut microbiome bacteria feed off the lining of our intestinal wall, (a bit like a creepy crawler concept for pool cleaning).
The beneficial result from this relationship that we have with these microbes is a clean, healthy, competent intestinal lining that improves the absorption of our nutrients from the food that we eat and supports our immune system and energy production pathways. The detrimental effect of low levels of these important microbiome species was found to result in a thinning of our intestinal lining making it more prone to gut dysbiosis/leaky gut and the problems that ensue this condition. (more information in our podcasts on gut health).
Its abundance in our human intestinal tract is inversely correlated to several disease states, meaning that a reduction of this bacteria in our digestive tract leaves us exposed to more inflammation and illness.
An interesting research into metabolic health in 2016 found that when A.muciniphila was fed to fat rats to study their impact on health. These fat rats very quickly became thin! This was an amazing breakthrough for understanding our health and the impact that our gut microbiome may have on our body's.
One research group went so far as to say in their conclusion that A. muciniphila is associated with a healthier metabolic status and better clinical outcomes after Calorie Restriction in overweight/obese adults.
A. muciniphila has also been reported to have a stabilising on our blood sugars with the flow effect supporting healthy weight loss, as well as any insulin resistant conditions such as Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Acne.
So now with knowing that this species has such a powerful impact of our health, our skin and our immune system it’s important to know how to increase their numbers and gain the benefits of healthy aging, a healthy metabolism, sugar balance and vitality wouldn’t you say?
So I would suggest that with a few dietary changes and a healthy cup of tea, or two, you can create your own blue zone at home !
Food sources that support A.Muciniphila production are ;
Increasing fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) in our diet such as onions, bananas, chicory root, garlic, asparagus, jícama, Jerusalem artichoke and leeks. Some grains and cereals, such as wheat and barley, also contain FOS.
black tea or a red wine grape extract (RWGE), both containing complex dietary polyphenol mixtures, significantly promoted growth of A. muciniphila .
The tea I like to drink to promote these beneficial microbes is pu-erh Tea. It is very easy to find in most tea shops and by drinking 1-3 cups a day you will be increasing your family of these beneficial bacteria and in turn reaping many rewards.
To support your family of A. muciniphila it is suggested that you also leave at least 5 hours between eating so that your microbiomes can do their work. It’s a little hard for them to do their clean up work when they being inundated with food. It would be like trying to clean up the kitchen when you have several members of the family walking into the kitchen and making themselves snacks while you are trying to clean – Impossible!
By adding Pu-erh tea to your daily health routine as well as some of the beneficial foods in your cooking such as onions, bananas, chicory root, garlic, asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke and leeks you will be increasing your numbers of A.muciniphila and in turn you will get to enjoy your own Blue zone!
Dao MC, Everard A, Aron-Wisnewsky J, et al Akkermansia muciniphila and improved metabolic health during a dietary intervention in obesity: relationship with gut microbiome richness and ecology Gut 2016;65:426-436.
Naito Y, Uchiyama K, Takagi T. A next-generation beneficial microbe: Akkermansia muciniphila. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2018;63(1):33–35. doi:10.3164/jcbn.18-57.
Geerlings SY, Kostopoulos I, de Vos WM, Belzer C. Akkermansia muciniphila in the Human Gastrointestinal Tract: When, Where, and How?. Microorganisms. 2018;6(3):75. Published 2018 Jul 23. doi:10.3390/microorganisms6030075
Sabater-Molina M et al. Dietary fructooligosaccharides and potential benefits on health. J Physiol Biochem. 2009 Sep;65(3):315-28. doi: 10.1007/BF03180584.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/akkermansia-muciniphila viewed July 11th 2019.
Zhou K. Strategies to promote abundance of Akkermansia muciniphila, an emerging probiotics in the gut, evidence from dietary intervention studies. J Funct Foods. 2017;33:194–201. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2017.03.045